Kamala Harris Wants to Be President. But What About Her Right-Wing Past?

Will Sen. Harris’s record as a prosecutor hurt her presidential chances given the democratic base’s leftward shift on criminal justice and civil liberties?

Photo illustration: Soohee Cho/The Intercept, Getty Images

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Since getting elected to the senate, Kamala Harris has become one of the most progressive voices in the chamber, coming out in favor of Medicare for All and debt-free college. Her forensic questioning of Brett Kavanaugh during last September’s Supreme Court nomination hearings boosted her national profile even further. However, her record as a district attorney and as attorney general in California stand in stark contrast to the progressive ideals she now claims to hold. As attorney general, Harris opposed a bill requiring her office to investigate shootings involving police officers and threatened to imprison the parents of truant children, who are disproportionately poor and non-white. Her office fought a proposed parole program that would release prisoners early if they served half their sentences, arguing that “prisons would lose an important labor pool.” When questioned about her record at a CNN Town Hall this week, Sen. Harris evaded the questions and argued instead that her record has been “consistent.” On this week’s Deconstructed podcast, Mehdi Hasan is joined by Jamilah King of Mother Jones and by Lara Bazelon, a professor of law at the University of San Francisco, to discuss Sen. Harris’s record and her prospects in the Democratic primaries.

Juliette Goodrich: We start with a major announcement from Senator Kamala Harris.

Kamala Harris (at campaign announcement): I stand before you today to announce my candidacy for president of the United States.

KH (CNN town hall): I compare my record to any prosecutor, any elected prosecutor in this country in terms of the work that I have done to reform the criminal justice system.

[Music interlude.]

Mehdi Hasan: Welcome to Deconstructed. I’m Mehdi Hasan. Another week, another Democrat declared their candidacy for president of the United States. But while plenty of liberals have welcomed Senator Kamala Harris’s announcement that she’s running, and even dubbed her the frontrunner. Some on the left are pretty worried about her controversial record as a prosecutor back home in California.

Lara Bazelon: I have not seen any real evidence that she is who she says she is. She says she’s a progressive prosecutor. That is not the case.

MH: That’s my guest Lara Bazelon, law professor and author of a recent, damning and viral New York Times op-ed headlined: “Kamala Harris Was Not a ‘Progressive Prosecutor’”.

I’m also joined to discuss the Harris record and her potentially-history-making presidential bid by Jamilah King of Mother Jones magazine, who’s been out on the road with Senator Harris.

Jamilah King: Hopefully the next stop on this campaign is to have this reckoning that we so deeply want. I think that the backlash that you’re seeing from Black progressive activists right now shows that she’s got a lot of work to do.

MH: So, on today’s show, is Senator Kamala Harris really the presidential candidate that progressives have been waiting for?

In 1999, a man named Daniel Larsen was convicted of possession of a concealed weapon — after two police officers testified that they saw him throw a knife under a car in the parking lot of a bar in Northridge, California. Unfortunately for Larsen, his attorney — since disbarred — failed to discover nine witnesses, who saw another man, not Larsen, toss the knife. In fact Larsen’s lawyer failed to call a single witness at trial and so Larsen ended up convicted and sentenced to 27-years-to-life in prison, under California’s ridiculous Three Strikes Law — because he already had a previous conviction from nearly a decade earlier.

A federal court later found, though, in the words of the California Innocence Project which went to bat on Larsen’s behalf, that he was “innocent, the police officers who testified at his trial were not credible, and his trial attorney was constitutionally ineffective for failing to call witnesses on his behalf.”

News Anchor: The federal magistrate ruled, had the jury been able to hear the new evidence, “no reasonable juror would have found petitioner Daniel Larsen guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”

MH: But here’s the thing: before Larsen was released, the California Attorney General appeal the judge’s ruling, arguing that even if Larsen was innocent of the crime, he shouldn’t be released and his conviction shouldn’t be overturned because he had waited too long to file his paperwork. That’s right: the California AG was okay with an innocent man spending his life in prison, his entire life behind bars, over a freaking technicality.

Now, why am I telling you all this? How is a 20-year-old unjust conviction relevant to our politics today? Well, that Attorney General is now running for president and her name is Senator Kamala Harris.

Kamala Harris: I’m running to be president of the people, by the people, and for all people.


MH: And folks are very excited about her campaign.

Chris Hayes: Kamala Harris launched her campaign in Oakland to rave reviews.

Laura Ingraham: Democrats are very excited about Kamala Harris.

Ana Cabrera: Is Kamala Harris the Democrats’ best chance to beat Trump in 2020?

MH: You can’t blame them: Harris is a damn strong candidate. She’s got charisma, humor, a fierce intellect, and her forensic questioning of Brett Kavanaugh at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last September was truly brilliant.

KH: Have you discussed Mueller or his investigation with anyone at Kasowitz, Benson and Torres, the law firm founded by Mark Kasowitz, President Trump’s personal lawyer?

Brett Kavanaugh: Uh.

KH: Be sure about your answer sir.

BK: I would like to know the person you’re thinking of —

KH: I think you’re thinking of someone and you don’t want to tell us.

MH: She’s also become one of the most progressive voices in the Senate since getting elected to that chamber as the junior senator from California in 2016. She’s come out in favor of Medicare-for-all and debt-free college, among other things. But, and there’s always a but, her high profile, her growing popularity, and now her presidential bid has put her record as a district attorney in San Francisco and as attorney general of California under the spotlight.

Lara Bazelon, in the New York Times on January the 17th, published what I would argue was a pretty damning and disturbing piece outlining how Kamala Harris was anything but a progressive prosecutor back in California. Lara writes, and I quote: “Time after time, when progressives urged her to embrace criminal justice reforms…Ms. Harris opposed them or stayed silent.” She also says Harris fought to uphold wrongful convictions, even when they involved “evidence tampering, false testimony and the suppression of crucial information by prosecutors.”

Lara goes on to point out that when California’s death penalty was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge, Harris, then attorney general, appealed that ruling. She opposed a bill requiring her office to investigate shootings involving police officers. She laughed when a reporter asked her if she’d support the legalization of marijuana.

Now, people change, politicians’ views evolve, they do, over time, and some of these issues that are being raised go back almost a decade. And yet, on Monday night, in a CNN Town Hall with Jake Tapper, Senator Harris refused to explain or even try and justify any of this stuff and in fact, when explicitly asked by a member of the audience how she reconciled her past with the kind of progressive stances she takes today, the senator replied:

KH: I’ve been consistent my whole career. My career has been based on an understanding one, that as a prosecutor, my duty was to seek and make sure that the most vulnerable and voiceless among us are protected. And that is why I have personally prosecuted violent crime that includes rape, child molestation, and homicide. And I have also worked my entire career to reform the criminal justice system understanding, to your point, that it is deeply flawed and in need of repair.

MH: Well, she hasn’t been consistent. That’s just not true. I mean, why say that? Why not just own it and say: “You know what? I’ve moved on. I’ve grown. I’ve evolved. I’m sorry.” But, no, pressed further by Jake Tapper on her contentious record, she refused to budge and instead invoked her own identity and background as a defense against the very legitimate criticisms of her record.

KH: I am a daughter of parents who met when they were active in the Civil Rights Movement. Nobody had to teach me about the disparities in the criminal justice system. I was born knowing what they are.

MH: She then even offered this ludicrous strawman of an argument.

KH: There are some people who just believe that prosecutors shouldn’t exist and I don’t think I’m ever going to satisfy them.

MH: Sorry, Senator, that’s bullshit. That’s a complete evasion. It’s not that prosecutors shouldn’t exist, it’s that prosecutors, especially Democrats who one day want to run for president, shouldn’t have a record of such awfulness on drug cases, or police use of force cases, or official misconduct cases, or legal marijuana or the death penalty. They shouldn’t brag about being a cop who used their badge to scare the shit out of the parents of truant kids — disproportionately poor and non-white parents, I might add.

KH: I decided I was going to start prosecuting parents for truancy. This was a little controversial in San Francisco. So, I sent a letter out on my letterhead to every parent in the school district. A friend of mine actually called me and said “Kamala, my wife got the letter. She freaked out. She brought all the kids into the living room, held up the letter, and said ‘If you don’t go to school, Kamala’s going to put you and me in jail.'”

MH: Did she really giggle while talking about threatening to lock up parents? Wow.

So, on today’s show, given the importance of the Democratic presidential nomination, given the importance of picking the best candidate to defeat and replace Donald Trump in 2020, I want to get to the bottom of all this — Really try and understand the Kamala Harris record, why it matters, and whether it’ll hurt her presidential chances, especially with a Democratic base which thankfully is moving more and more to the left on race, on criminal justice reform, on civil liberties.

[Music interlude.]

MH: I’m joined today from San Francisco, by Lara Bazelon, associate professor of law at the at the University of San Francisco, author of the book “Rectify,” and the author also of that scathing New York Times op-ed on Senator Kamala Harris’s prosecutorial record. And from the offices of the Intercept in New York, by Jamilah King, race and justice reporter at Mother Jones magazine and host of the Mother Jones podcast. She’s also the author of the recent piece “The Secret To Understanding Kamala Harris.”

Lara, Jamilah, thank you both for joining me on Deconstructed.

JK: Thanks for having me.

LB: Thank you for having me.

MH: Lara, why did you write your op-ed in the New York Times? What prompted you to come out so strongly, so comprehensively against Senator Harris and her record? You even said she was on the wrong side of history.

LB: I wrote it from a real place of concern because she announced herself as a progressive prosecutor and she’s just not in that group of people. And I felt because those issues are so important to voters and so important to be clearly understood that it was necessary to set the record straight and so I did.


MH: Wow, so Jamilah, I want to bring you into the discussion. You’ve written extensively about Senator Harris as well. We’ll come to your piece in a moment. What did you make of Lara’s op-ed in the New York Times that got so much attention and Lara’s claim both in that piece and just now that Kamala Harris is presenting herself as a progressive prosecutor and she most certainly wasn’t?

JK: Yeah, I thought that Lara’s piece was articulating a lot of concerns that folks have had about Senator Harris’ record for many, many years, dating back to her time as district attorney of San Francisco. You know, I have been following her career since she was district attorney and you know, it’s really interesting to see someone suddenly get national attention who has been in elected office for 20 years, right. I think a lot of the more charismatic political figures who’ve sort of burst on the scene in recent years — Donald Trump notwithstanding — you know, they’re folks whose political histories are relatively new, right. Or somewhat neutral in that they’re serving the public interest. They were elected to state senate and then they went on from there. But Kamala Harris is obviously very different. She’s worked in elected office for going on two decades and more than that, she works in law enforcement, right. And we’re in this moment right now of intense reckoning with the failures of law enforcement over the course of several generations and she’s sort of become the face of that. So, you know, I thought that —

MH: Is it just bad timing, Jamilah? If she’d run four or eight years ago, would we not be having this debate?

JK: It’s possible. It’s possible that maybe four or eight years ago, you know, this conversation would’ve been different but because so many things have shifted — I think in 2016, you look at the very valid criticism that Black activists waged against Hillary Clinton around her use of the term “superpredator,” right. And Hillary Clinton was in 1996, or 1994, she was a very important woman but she was not in elected office, right. And so, even those things were being used against her. And so, I do think that there’s a part of this with like, you know, how do we reckon with someone who worked in law enforcement trying to run our government? How do we reckon with someone in law enforcement becoming sort of the face of a resistance? And I think this is sort of, the lane that Donald Trump has sort of pushed us in.

MH: So, you write in your piece, Jamilah, “Harris is not interested in crusading from the outside. Her mission is to reform the system from within.” Did she do that in California in your view?

JK: She certainly tried. She tried for two decades, I think. She wrote a whole book that was just released recently about her time in public office in California, in San Francisco, and then later in the Attorney General’s office. And there were some great things that she did, right. You can point to certain programs that at the time, were seen as revolutionary. At the time, were seen as these huge steps forward. Programs like Back On Track that tried to divert non-violent, first-time offenders. You know, but it’s tough. I think that in San Francisco she also did spend some time cultivating relationships with Black activists and sort of folks who were on the ground doing the work. And they’re still very, very supportive of her, but it’s a very fine line to walk. And I think that a lot of folks who’ve been walking this line are in a really tough position right now. Everyone kind of says it’s complicated.


MH: Lara, I mentioned in my intro the case of Daniel Larsen, an innocent man who Senator Harris, when she was AG, attorney general in California opposed the release of, mainly over a legal technicality. He ended up serving 13 years of a 27-year sentence before he could get out. You mentioned in your piece the case of George Gage who I believe is still in prison today serving a 70-year sentence. Explain to our listeners what that has to do with Senator Harris.

LB: What happened was that George Gage in 1999 was accused of sexually assaulting and abusing his stepdaughter Marian. Gage who was — there was a hung jury the first time — turned down an offer essentially of time served and said “I am not a sexual predator.” And in his defense, he had an expert saying that he had none of the characteristics of one. The jury convicted based largely on Marian’s testimony and then it came out afterwards that the prosecutor had held back a lot of important information that he was required to turn over including psychiatric and medical records. One of which, in her mother’s own handwriting, said “My daughter is a pathological liar and she lives her lies.” The case was appealed. The trial judge confronted with this evidence reacted really strongly and overturned the conviction but it was reinstated on appeal because ironically, the jury never considered the evidence because of course, they were not allowed to. And then all these years later, it gets to the ninth circuit in federal court and at that point it was Kamala Harris’s job as attorney general to decide what to do. Was she going to defend this conviction? Or was she going to acknowledge the serious constitutional problems with it and ask that it be overturned so that George Gage could be retried?

MH: And what was her decision?

LB: Her decision was to defend the conviction on a technicality. And so, she sent her deputies in to argue that George Gage should not get relief because when he was in federal court, in front of the trial judge, forced to be his own lawyer — because in habeas, you do not have the right to a lawyer — he failed to state the claim in exactly the way that he was required to do, the way that the law mandated. And that was the argument her deputies made.

MH: And he’s still in prison today, George Gage?

LB: Yes, George Gage is 80 and he is still in prison.

MH: On CNN’s Town Hall discussion with Senator Harris on Monday night, the Senator said one of the reasons she became a prosecutor and rose up the ranks is because she wanted to reform the system. Is that a fair description of what she did in your view, first as a DA and then as an attorney general?

LB: In my view, no. I don’t want to take away from the fact that she did start the Back on Track and that it did give first-time offenders a second chance and that it was in its own way, a revolutionary program. That was during her time as district attorney. I think then you need to fast-forward to what she would call “inflection points” and what I would call situations that call for courage and conviction and principle. So, for example, the George Gage case or the Daniel Larsen case that you mentioned. But we can also go on. There were activists of color, activists at the ACLU, all kinds of folks including members of the Black caucus in the state senate who were very, very disappointed for example, when she opposed bills in 2015 that would’ve required her office to investigate officer-involved shootings, to take them out of the control of the local DA which was often seen as being too cozy with the police. Those same folks were very taken aback when she opposed mandating that all police officers wear body-worn cameras. Anti-death penalty activists and people who care about racial justice were very concerned when she defended the death penalty. So, a federal judge found that it was unconstitutional at that point, she could’ve stood down and instead she appealed and had it reinstated at the ninth circuit. So we’re talking about decisions that affect hundreds, and thousands of lives.

MH: Yes, it’s interesting you mention the death penalty case. But didn’t she also, as a DA in San Francisco, oppose calling for the death penalty for a guy who’d killed a cop even though she was under pressure from her own party, from Democratic senators at that time? So, as Jamilah mentioned, she seems to be walking this line. On the one hand, she opposes saying the California death penalty is unconstitutional but then she opposes calling for it earlier on in her career. It’s kind of hard to make out where she stands.

LB: It’s tricky and I’m not arguing that she wasn’t in a very difficult situation and I think she was very brave not to seek the death penalty in 2004. That was the platform that she ran on and she stayed true to her promise. Then though, you need to look at her recent record and the kinds of decisions that she’s made. And it may be that that was a very scarring experience because she experienced a tremendous amount of backlash including Dianne Feinstein at the officer’s funeral standing up, demanding the death penalty and getting a standing ovation. So, you do face a lot of pressure and a lot of backlash for standing up for your convictions but I don’t think the lesson should be that you then stop standing up for them.

JK: Yeah, that’s a really great point, Lara. And I do want to go back to that decision in 2004, to not seek the death penalty. She paid a huge political price for that and it’s one that you can see that she tried to rectify in her run for attorney general by courting police unions, right. And that was, I think that turned a lot of people off. She’s this liberal from San Francisco who’s going around saying that she’s against the death penalty and so she did become more of a centrist in that regard. She’s a politician, a consummate politician in that she will sort of, do what the political calculus says is necessary.

MH: Just on the kind of, politician, you say in your piece, Jamilah, she “long tried to bridge the tricky divide between social progressivism and the work required as a prosecutor sometimes more successfully than others.” Overall, do you think she managed to bridge that divide? Was she successful overall, do you think?

JK: I think that the backlash that you’re seeing from Black progressive activists right now shows that she’s got a lot of work to do. You know, I think that she’s been able to put together — If she can put together a team that you know, can actually get people on her side that’s a different thing but you know, she at least, in my circles, her announcement shows that she’s one of the most contentious figures to run for president in recent memory.

MH: It’s funny that you mention Black progressive activists reacting badly to her because a lot of her defenders on Twitter for example, on social media, especially in kind of “mainstream Democrats,” if I can call them that, are suggesting that a lot of the criticism against her is driven by racism and misogyny or a combination of the two. Do you think that’s fair? What’s your reaction to people say “Well, this is typical. It’s because she’s a Black woman.”

JK: Well, I think it depends on which criticism you’re talking about, right. If you’re talking about who she dated 25 years ago, then yes, that is absolutely driven by racism and sexism and misogyny.

MH: The Willie Brown stuff, yes.

JK: I think that if you can keep the criticism to her record, those are very valid criticisms that people should be having. Those are criticisms that sort of, lay at the heart of where criminal justice reform is moving in the next two decades. So, you know, I think that it’s a really tricky position for a lot of people, but again, I think you know, if you, I think Black folks are smart enough to know that you know, you don’t have to vote for somebody just because they’re black or just because they’re a Democrat. And so, I think that all of that tension is sort of being played out in the very beginning stages of this campaign.

MH: Lara, is she being held, is Senator Harris being held to an unfair standard? A lot of her defenders say her critics are guilty of racism or misogyny. Others are saying, you know, she’s being held to standards that other Democrats aren’t being held to, other Democrats aren’t having their records on criminal justice being scrutinized or criticized in the same way. People point at Bernie Sanders and say “He voted for the 1994 notorious crime bill. That doesn’t get mentioned.” WHat’s your reaction to those people who say that, Lara?

LB: I agree that it depends on who the critic is and where the criticism is coming from. But no other candidate is running as a progressive prosecutor. No other candidate has seized that label and affixed it to themselves and that term has a very specific meaning. It means that you seek justice and you make hard decisions including embracing criminal justice reforms and at almost every inflection point, she did not do that. And the other thing I want to say about what’s so disappointing to me in this rollout, is what I keep waiting for is a reckoning from her. You mentioned the CNN Town Hall last night. She was asked very pointed questions by a young man in the audience about her record as a prosecutor and asked specifically about these tainted convictions and other decisions and rather than respond directly, she just responded with a bunch of platitudes about how she’s always been consistent, not true. And talking once again about Back on Track, as if that was somehow the answer to all of these questions.

MH: And not engaging with the specifics raised by you in your piece and elsewhere.

LB: Not at all.

MH: Here’s a question though, Lara, what do you say to people who say “You know what? None of this even matters anymore. Yes, she gets a question in a CNN Town Hall but it’s ancient history. Some of this stuff is from almost a decade ago and people don’t care about it anymore. People in Iowa and New Hampshire aren’t going to be basing their votes on what she did as a DA back in San Francisco in 2004?”

LB: What people in Iowa, and New Hampshire, and South Carolina and all over this country are going to care about is a leader, someone who is a true leader which means that they go first even if there aren’t a crowd of people in front of them and a crowd of people following them. What they’re going to care about is someone promising, for example, to be progressive and then actually delivering on those promises and not holding their finger to the wind and doing the political thing. And so, in the end of the day, whether their key issue is the death penalty or wrongful convictions or police brutality, what they’re really looking for is someone who stands behind what they say and walks the walk.

MH: Okay, so do you think that she’s that person? Is she authentic?

LB: I have not seen any real evidence that she is who she says she is. She says she’s a progressive prosecutor. That is not the case and I haven’t seen any reckoning with the voluminous evidence indicating that that is really a problem and not an accurate statement.

MH: Before I ask Jamilah the same question, one quick thing, you keep mentioning progressive prosecutor. What do you say to people who say progressive prosecutor’s an oxymoron? There’s no such thing.

LB: I say that that’s a fundamental misunderstanding of the prosecutor’s role. Most people in this country think that prosecutors and defense attorneys are flip sides of the same coin and that their job is to win at all costs. But that’s not the prosecutor’s job. The prosecutor’s job is to seek justice and to vindicate the truth. And what that means is that if they come to find a case is tainted by misconduct and lying and cheating, they have an affirmative obligation to go to the court and say this was wrong. This was a miscarriage of justice. I am standing down. They also have an obligation to be fair to everyone. So for example, if they find that there’s a system in place that is exacting racially disproportionate penalties. They have an obligation to embrace reforms that correct that. And again, at various junctions in California when legislation came up designed to do that precise thing, she opposed it or remained silent.

MH: Jamilah, you spent some time with Senator Harris on the ground in California reporting for your piece. Do you think she’s authentically moving on these issues, that she’s genuinely maybe changed her mind or evolved even if she doesn’t want to say it? Because what I can’t quite yet figure out is whether she’s just a product of her time. She’s a politician who became politically active in the 1990s when every Democrat had to be tough on crime, had to be pro-prison, pro-locking people up. Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, you know, this is the stuff she said in order to get elected or does she really believe some of the stuff she was doing back then? Is she really deep down quite right-wing on law and order?

JK: I think no one knows the answer to that except for Kamala Harris and I would love to see her actually, like Lara said, come out with a public reckoning and know that she is different from the rest of the field. She has held elected office for so long. She has been sort of, in the crucible of this most contentious issue for nearly two decades. And this is something that you know, she can’t just appeal to the folks in Iowa. She can’t just be trying to appeal to the folks in New Hampshire. She has to be able to really rally the progressive base around her and until she’s able to do that, I think she’s got her work really cut out for her.

MH: Although some centrist Democrats might say, Jamilah, they might say, “You know what? You know, you lefties are getting all upset about her record as a prosecutor, as a cop but that’ll actually help her win in the general election. It’ll help her win “moderate voters.” What do you say to them?

JK: I worry that folks are going to sit home. I worry that folks are not going to come out. Folks are not going to you know, rally around her with the same enthusiasm that they might with someone who’s honest. I think our democracy deserves someone who will be able to admit when they’ve made a mistake and be able to say that they’re willing to do better.

MH: Just before we wrap up, broadening the discussion into kind of the general politics since we mentioned Iowa, New Hampshire. How strong a candidate is Kamala Harris? Is she one of the frontrunners in your view, Lara?

LB: Yes, I think she absolutely is.

MH: And she deserves to be because she’s a good candidate, in many ways, to be fair.

LB: She’s a very strong candidate in many, many ways and I’m not surprised that she’s a front-runner. And her rollout has been incredibly successful.

MH: And if she can, if she does this reckoning, which you’d like to see her do and Jamilah would like to see her do, but is unlikely, I suspect, would she have your vote, Lara?

LB: Well, let’s be clear any Democratic nominee has my vote against Donald Trump or quite frankly, any Republican. I think the real question is does she have my vote in the primary? And it’s really too early to say. We’re at the very, very beginning stages. We don’t know what the full field is and like every voter, I want to sit back and evaluate each candidate and then pick the person who best reflects my values.

MH: Jamilah, what do you think is going to happen to the Kamala Harris campaign? Where’s it going to go next?

JK: Hopefully the next stop on this campaign is to have this reckoning that we so deeply want but you know, if not, I think you can see a lot of these sort of arguments that are happening on the far left to become more central and I think you can see some splintering. So, you know, she’s got some of the best people around on her team. I’m sure that it will continue to be successful and high profile and she will do well. What that means, you know, in the primary and the general and then you know, for the White House, I think remains to be seen. I think you want someone in office who will be responsive and I’m not sure that folks trust her to be that person.

MH: Jamilah, Lara, we’ll have to leave it there. Thank you so much for joining me on Deconstructed.

LB: Thank you so much.

JK: Thank you.

MH: That was Lara Bazelon and Jamilah King, talking Kamala Harris. A very interesting discussion, I think there, about the seriousness and importance of this topic. Will some voters stay at home if Harris is the candidate, as Jamilah suggested? Will the senator have a reckoning on her record as a prosecutor, as Lara wants? I doubt it, but with Kamala Harris as a frontrunner, this topic isn’t going away and she certainly has a lot of questions to answer about miscarriages of justice, police violence, the war on drugs and a racist criminal justice system.

[Music interlude.]

MH: That’s our show. Deconstructed is a production of First Look Media and The Intercept, and is distributed by Panoply. Our producer is Zach Young. Dina Sayedahmed is our production assistant. The show was mixed by Bryan Pugh. Leital Molad is our executive producer. Our theme music was composed by Bart Warshaw. Betsy Reed is The Intercept’s editor in chief.

And I’m Mehdi Hasan. You can follow me on Twitter @mehdirhasan. If you haven’t already, please do subscribe to the show so you can hear it every week. Go to theintercept.com/deconstructed to subscribe from your podcast platform of choice, iPhone, Android, whatever. If you’re subscribed already, please do leave us a rating or review. It helps new people find the show. And if you want to give us feedback, do email us at Podcasts@theintercept.com. Thanks very much. See you next week.

Articles referenced in this podcast:

The Secret to Understanding Kamala Harris by Jamilah King, Mother Jones January 2018

Kamala Harris’ Presidential Run Will Force Democrats to Decide Where They Really Stand on Criminal Justice by Jamilah King, Mother Jones January 2019

Kamala Harris was Not a “Progressive Prosecutor” by Lara Bazelon, New York Times January 2019

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